Explore charming natural spaces in this Victorian-style garden, which features tree-lined avenues and intriguing monuments just minutes from Melbourne's central business district.
Fitzroy Gardens is an elegantly designed inner-city parkland and a cornerstone of Melbourne's claim to be Australia's “Garden City”. Spread over 26 hectares (64 acres), this park features plant displays designed with Victorian-era flair and historic landmarks that preserve the city's stories.
The current layout of the gardens is mostly the design work of 19th-century naturalist, explorer and surveyor Clement Hodgkinson. Learn about the area's history at the Visitor Information Centre, which also serves fresh coffee at an in-house café. Join locals as they relax or play in this tranquil green space.
One of the gardens' iconic features is its long pathways lined with trees, which create an enchanting walking atmosphere. Photograph native Australian flora like the flame tree, spotted gum or Moreton Bay fig, which are complemented by decorative fountains and sculptures spotted throughout the park. At night, look out for possums grazing the lawns and listen for microbats scuffling around the treetops.
The park features a number of calming natural attractions, including an ornamental lake populated by ducks. Stop by the Fairies Tree and inspect the intricate and colourful carvings on its trunk. Note the hacked bark of the Scarred Tree, a wooden monument in the park's centre. It pays homage to the area's indigenous inhabitants, who cut trees this way to make canoes, weapons and slings.
Head to the Band Pavilion and enjoy lunch at the kiosk. Next door, show the kids a model Tudor Village. This charming miniature settlement was built by a 77 year old and presented to the city of Melbourne in 1948.
Visit the Conservatory, which features Spanish mission-style architecture and superb floral displays in on its front lawns. Afterwards, step into history at Cook's Cottage, the former home of Australia's first English visitor, James Cook. The estate's original 18th-century Yorkshire-style garden has been recreated around the back.
Fitzroy Gardens is located just a few minutes' walk west of Melbourne's central business district. Get there from farther afield via tram.